Helena, Mont. – In response to the hearing in Congress before House Natural Resources on reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), Montana Governor Steve Bullock again urged Congress to support full mandatory funding and permanent reauthorization of the LWCF, which expired in September. The LWCF uses royalties from the depletion of offshore oil and gas to create and protect natural areas and water resources across the nation.
"The LWCF has made Montana a richer and more productive place to live and work. While some in Washington DC wring their hands over how to move forward, Montanans know a good thing when they see it,” Bullock said, adding “The current structure and flexibility that is built into the LWCF has served Montana well.”
From city parks and recreation facilities in Sidney and Missoula, to conservation easements on family ranches along the Rocky Mountain Front, to preserving forest jobs and hunting and fishing opportunities in the Thompson and Fisher Valleys, the LWCF has supported and complemented an outdoor way of life that is the envy of the nation.
Montana has received over $237 million from the LWCF since 2005. As of 2012, 181,000 working forest lands have been conserved through LWCF funds, and approximately 165 fishing access sites have been created or improved.
Governor Bullock also cited the large economic benefits to Montana from LWCF funds. Active outdoor recreation contributes more than $6.0 billion each year to the state’s economy and supports 34,000 jobs. It’s estimated that over 950,000 people hunt, fish, or watch wildlife in Montana each year, opportunities made possible in part by funding from the LWCF.
Governor Bullock’s support of the LWCF is the latest in his long standing dedication to Montana’s outdoor heritage and public lands. He continues to make preserving Montana’s wild spaces a top priority of his administration.